Tag Archives: feelings

The “Anger” dilemma


 

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Jim gets an unpleasant call one day from his son Arnold: Dad I am at the ER at the Hospital, There has been an accident, but I am fine. Jim doesn’t bother to ask the details after listening to his sons voice, but rushes to the ER to find his son admitted with a severe burn on his face.

Arnolds chin, nose and a side of his face was burnt in a fire accident. Although he was in pain and severe agony, his shock from the incident wasn’t worn out. It appeared that he was still living through the moments of the unfortunate incident over and over again. The shock and emotional trauma seemed to be more agonizing for him than the physical ones.

After the initial shock and hurt, Jim managed to collect himself and sit beside his son and assure him that he will be fine soon. Once the doctor on duty came by and assured Jim that although Arnold suffered these burns he should recover soon and should be fine, Jim managed to step out for a bit to take a break from the ever busy and frantic sounds of nurses, equipments, monitors and patients.

Outside the ER he found Arnolds childhood friends sitting at the waiting area. Nick and Andrew were Arnold’s best friends since his nursery. Living in the same neighbourhood they practically grew up together. Hence, anticipating a breakdown of events that lead to this accident, Jim sat down beside them and asked them to walk him through the tragedy.

It all began when the three decided to have a BBQ that evening over a charcoal grill. After their initial efforts to ignite the coal using some paper and dry sticks failed, their interest shifted to setting the grill on fire with other things they could find in the garage. Once the fire started, Arnold took the lead in turning this project into a sort of a bonfire. He kept through things into the fire that could combust into a bigger fire balls. The more he instigated the fire, the bigger it became. And finally, out came the infamous lighter gas can. While Nick strolled away from this site and Andrew stepped inside to grab the meats, Arnold decided to throw the butane can into the fire in an effort to spite its fury and watch what happens.

The can exploded on his face. The fire ball was big enough to burn his face and throw him a few feet away. Andrew and Nick heard the sound and rushed to rescue Arnold and got him to the hospital.

Jim was shocked at the stupidity of his usually well behaved and academically smart son. He asked Andrew and Nick how come they didn’t stop or advice him against this. Nick said he got scared, warned Arnold and eventually stepped away from the fire. Andrew said he didn’t expect this from Arnold, but was there immediately out to douse the fire with water and later an extinguisher after he pulled Arnold away to safety. He managed to get Arnold into the car and to the hospital while the fire site was covered with smoke on the yard smelling really bad.

Although Jim was very disturbed by his sons’ behaviour and poor judgement, he couldn’t help think that this becomes a much needed and valuable lesson for his son for the rest of his life.

Let us assume the FIRE in this story represents ANGER. And Arnold was playing with this fire contrary the several advices and blatant facts. The lessons from this incident are as follows:

  • Although Anger is necessary at time, it has to be within a controllable limit
  • Do not play with Anger if you are not willing to withstand the consequences
  • Don’t blame the fire for burning you, blame yourself for instigating the fire
  • If you instigate it and keep throwing things to spite it, the Anger may blow up on YOUR face
  • Smart people walk away from Anger
  • Good people douse the anger with whatever they can
  • The bruises from Anger will bear emotional scars for long
  • If you instigate anger, it is very likely you will be the ultimate victim
  • Once doused, the event will stink for a long time

In our world, Anger is seen as a bad behaviour displayed by the week and cowardly. The person who gets Angry is looked down upon.  There are dire consequences to face if one looses his or her cool due to anger. There are anger management lessons to control and manage anger. But there is very little said about the instigators. The Arnolds of the world and their plight as a victim often takes very little interest. Their stupidity and poor judgement of playing with Anger is often do not get criticised. In fact it is quite the contrary. They are the poor victims and the sympathy lies with them. While the stupidity, hate and displeasure is against the fire to the person who dared to express his or her displeasure with the natural human reaction called Anger.

Anger is certainly a negative behaviour with often severe bad consequences. In anger an individual easily tends to lose logic, and basic common sense. Rage and the need for vengeance takes over sensibilities, intelligence and tact. And it is a proven fact that people get angry for the most trivial and silliest reasons majority of the time.  A study conducted by the British Association of Anger Management a few years ago brought out some interesting statistics:

  • 45% of adults lose their temper at work
  • 33% are not in speaking terms with their neighbours due to anger
  • More than 80% of drivers have been involved in road rage incidents
  • 50% of people have reacted badly when faced with computer problems at work.
  • And (nor surprisingly) 1486 incidents of serious air rage reported by the Airlines.

Of course, the instigators are not interesting enough. The airline staff can continue to instigate and play with fire, annoying neighbours are do the same, and the tech support can always slow down your computer with the much necessary “Upgrade”.  If you react, you will need to control your anger and go to some anger management class while the Arnolds of the world can rake in the sympathies as victims.

So what is this Anger? Well, one popular website, WebMD describes it as: “..a very powerful emotion that can stem from feelings of frustration, hurt, annoyance, or disappointment. It is a normal human emotion that can range from slight irritation to strong rage.”

The website goes further to describe the consequences of suppressed anger as follows:

“Suppressed anger can be an underlying cause of anxiety and depression. Anger that is not appropriately expressed can disrupt relationships, affect thinking and behavior patterns, and create a variety of physical problems. Chronic (long-term) anger has been linked to health issues such as high blood pressure, heart problems, headaches, skin disorders, and digestive problems. In addition, anger can be linked to problems such as crime, emotional and physical abuse, and other violent behavior.”

Therefore, it is necessary to express our anger, but the key is the manner we choose to express it. As I have mentioned in my other earlier posts, our life is defined by our reactions to it. Hence it is imperative for us to carefully choose our reactions and what we choose to get angry over.

Over the years, unless instigated by constant probing, irritation, disrespect, emotional and personal punches to my ego, I have learned to control my reactions mostly. But I continue to burst out in rage when I lose control because of bottling up my frustration, hurt and annoyance. After all, it is a normal human emotion that I am trying to suppress. But what amuses me and seems to work often is what Nick and Andrew did in the story above. Walk away from the situation that angers you, or douse it with whatever I can. In most cases these are the things that helped me douse the anger:

  • Reason
  • Humour
  • Logic
  • Learning to be assertive
  • Agreeing to disagree
  • Disconnect from the discussion if it doesn’t concern me personally
  • Stop and try to understand the other persons perspective or reasons

And one of the most important thought process that has helped me manage my anger better is understanding and accepting the fact that we live in an imperfect world. Like ourselves, others tend to do mistakes too. Letting people do their share of mistakes and learning through their pitfalls is one of the grater services you can do to people.  Although it is at times at the expense of your time and emotions, the patience you can muster with some understanding will often go a long way. I am sure many of us can recollect a time when someone chose to overlook our short comings in life. Giving space to people to do mistakes and learn from it often helps them learn faster and more effectively than wasting your time and emotions of trying to advice, coach or instruct them on what is the right thing to do.

My experiences now are lot more subtle and often funny as opposed to anger and dismay. I let the speeding car that comes up and sticks to my bumper pass, only to find them stopped by a cop further down the road. When someone cuts me off on the road, I smile and let them be, and often find someone one else expend his rage and emotion at that inconsiderate driver. I choose to sit down and use the speaker phone mode when talking to customer service. I ask them very politely to explain to me why they think that their response is a reasonable one. Often they end up correcting themselves when you put them through the exercise. I try to walk away from people who are being unreasonable, and return to the discussion after giving them some time to mull over their argument and see reasons themselves. All one needs to do is state the facts and walk away. A reasonable person will often come around. And a smile often solves many things.

There are many things in life that is not worth the trouble of draining your emotions.  Many things in life tend to fix themselves. You need not be the one to take on the responsibility to fix everything that you find wrong. Do whatever you reasonably can to make things better. Unreasonable angry people will eventually learn and find ways to cool down. If they do not they will face the consequences like Arnold.

Life is too short to live as an angry teacher. But it is more gratifying to live it as an eager student.


It’s choice – not chance – that determines your destiny


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Amongst all the wonders we are blessed with, one of the most powerful things that we have got is the power of “free will” or Choice. Specifically the choices we can make in life on a day to day basis between good and bad and how we wish to be or become as evolving human beings. I must also say that I am aware that choices are at times limited to people based on the circumstances they live in, but I am talking about the choices that still many have in lives in an effort to have a better living and happier and meaningful lives regardless of their circumstances.

It’s choice – not chance – that determines your destiny. – Jean Nidetch

The ability to choose is an amazing powerful gift we posses that we truly do not realize or take advantage of in our lives. In order to truly understand it and use it to our advantage we need to understand the fundamental definition of Choice. It is a mental process which helps us to judge and analyze from multiple options and selecting one of them based on preference. Choosing from these multiple options usually results in a consequence or a need for action that would eventually derive at a desired consequence. In any given day as human beings we are subject to making several choices that affect our living. They may be from the simplest forms to complex in nature. The consequences of these choices or decision to choose one from another may affect our lifestyle, religious affiliation, political position, finances, attitude towards others, reaction to situations, and health almost daily.

The strongest principle of growth lies in human choice. – George Eliot

Our life essentially is nothing but a collective result of the choices we have made along the way. There are many choices were made at several moments in life, based on several experiences and circumstances, but nevertheless these were our choices and we face and live the consequences of these very choices daily. We may choose to blame the circumstances, but nevertheless the choice was ours and we are solely responsible for those choices and the eventual outcome. We each have the power and freedom to choose right from wrong. Often we end up choosing that which is easy from hard and sadly learn that the hard ends up being the right thing to do. The righteous and the just thing to do often involves hardships, disagreement from common folk, against certain odds, and at times contrary to common thinking. But it is in such choices that great accomplishments lie. Greatness has never been served on a silver platter, but it has only been earned by the choices made against all odds with the will, determination and perseverance. But it begins with the choice. And the power to choose is in your very power.

“There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them.”- Denis Waitley (1933-…, motivational speaker and author of The Psychology of Winning)

If we examine history, great accomplishments and even the current popular inspiring stories of our times, we can clearly see that almost each and every single person had to make a very difficult choice against popular thinking, extreme criticism, severe opposition and unthinkable obstacles. Yet, each of these individuals made their choice that was right, stuck to it, persevered and accomplished great things. From a noble prince Siddhartha choosing to give up his royal luxuries life to find greater meaning in life and becoming Buddha, to Socrates’ struggle for independent thinking, to Gandhi standing up against the British Empire, to Martin Luther King’s fight for Civil Rights, to Nelson Mandela’s struggle to abolish Apartheid, the list continues to become an example of what great and right choices in life can achieve. Anne Frank, Mother Theresa, Beethoven, Vincent Van Gogh, Rosa Parks, Marie Curie, Abraham Lincoln, to modern day successes against odds and popular opinion like, Steve Jobs, Barak Obama, Michael Jordan,  Stephen Hawkins, Oprah Winfrey, Lance Armstrong,  Aung Sang Suu Kyi are all people who had the courage to choose and stand by what they believed to be right regardless of what the consequences would be. Even the most ordinary and common folk who may be lesser known do this on a daily basis. In our current day news the Pakistani Girl Malala who stood against the Taliban to encourage girls to go to school is just yet another example of everyday heroes who go great things be having the courage to take the decision and choose what is right in life.

Start with what is right rather than what is acceptable. – Peter F. Drucker

We are always faced with such choices in our lives. We are always given these options and choices to choose from in almost every aspect of our life. But we need to have the wisdom, integrity, and the will to make the right choices for ourselves. The life we live is designed to challenge you to make the right choices in daily. And each of your day to day choices result in a continuous change and the resulting consequences that shape your life. One must always remember that one can change his or her life by simply making the right choices in life. It’s entirely up to you. You can get rid of old habits, change unwanted situations, make better lifestyle choices, choose a better diet, choose better food, better friends, better reactions to situations and problems, and give yourself the wisdom and courage to achieve great things in your life by making good, educated and right choices in life.

“Until a person can say deeply and honestly, “I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday,” that person cannot say, “I choose otherwise” – Stephen R. Covey (1932-…, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)

In today’s world, many of us are also spoilt with choices. We do not know what is good for us and what is not. Young high school kids have trouble picking a profession, university or a carrier. Young graduates have trouble picking jobs, or company to work for, others have to choose their life partners, financial options, cars, life style, cell phones, televisions, computers, and even a simple cup of coffee is from a list of options and variations. There were times where I can walk into a Café and ask for a cup of coffee. I would get a cup of coffee, few cubes of sugar and a pot of milk. Today in the name of quality service, brand and marketing gimmicks for an extra $4 whether you like it or not, you are forced to pick from Columbian, American, Costa Rican, host of other gourmet beans, ground, coarse, fine, Grande, Venti, Tall, milk, 2% milk, cream, black, white sugar, brown sugar, honey, sweetener, and still end up with just a coffee to kick-start your morning. But for some even such wonderful choices are bigger problems than luxury or convenience in their lives. It is a choice they have to make and yet feel overwhelmed as though it is being forced upon them. The luxury of choices has now become a burden for some while others may struggle to follow the only option they may have got in their lives.

“Man is made or unmade by himself. By the right choice he ascends. As a being of power, intelligence, and love, and the lord of his own thoughts, he holds the key to every situation.” – James Allen (1864-1912, author of As a Man Thinketh)

It takes a lot of work, courage, patience and thinking to make good and wise choices in life. Many of us are dealt with the same amount of choices and possibilities like the list of great achievers had. It is the choice we make that makes the difference in our lives.  There is no excuse for making poor choices but great accomplishments can be made by making simple good choices daily in our lives. From our choices in reactions to situation, to how we express our love to others, to how much hard work we are willing to put for our own success and the words we chose to express ourselves, everything little choice we make daily shapes our life. We  need to realize and truly understand  the consequences of better choices and to indulge in creative thinking and strategic planning and development of ideas for the real world that will live in. Start making better, positive, progressive and wise choices today, and within a week you will see pointed positive differences in your life.


Change into greater beings


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“For things to change, you’ve got to change. For things to get better, you’ve got to get better.” ~Jeff Olson

As time passes and we grow from one stage to another we often make some subtle and some major changes to ourselves. We upgrade our wardrobe to the current trends, we upgrade our gadgets, car and several other things as we feel necessary. Similarly, we also grow into more mature and understanding beings. Our perceptions change and so does our demeanor. All such changes are made almost involuntarily. Many a times, we do not even realize these changes in ourselves. Perhaps, it is accepted as a natural progression of life.  But seldom do we change ourselves voluntarily in an effort to become better people.  We take great comfort in being highly critical of others and the world around us. We also take great pride and pleasure in pointing out the mistakes in others and offer solicited or mostly unsolicited advises to people on how to improve themselves and where they are going wrong. But never do we reflect upon our own actions and deeds. How often do we truly analyze our own character and personality in order to make ourselves a better person?

“Character is a quality that embodies many important traits, such as integrity, courage, perseverance, confidence and wisdom. Unlike your fingerprints that you are born with and can´t change, character is something that you create within yourself and must take responsibility for changing.”  ~Jim Rohn

 As human beings we need to evolve continuously by making progress by making positive changes to our  behaviour and attitude towards life and people and above all ourselves. When we truly indulge in developing ourselves to form good and positive personalities, we begin to feel different and see the world in a better light.  This positive personality trait is as infectious as any virus can be and it only helps make our immediate surrounding and eventually the world we live in a  much more positive and happier place to be. As intelligent human beings sharing this world and resources and having been created alike, we cannot afford to shrug our responsibilities to the societies we live in and our fellow species. If not anything, we can at least make genuine efforts and help ourselves to become positive people and uphold good values and make positive contributions to our world. In order to do this we need to begin first with ourselves, then our immediate home and family, then our close friends and then the world, in this particular order. And this change we intent to bring into others should not be forced, asked or told, but rather such changes should be inspired by our character, deeds, actions and behaviours.

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” ~Leo Tolstoy

Our individual characters and behaviours often influences our out look towards our world and surroundings. When we are in a positive mood we feel that we can face any challenge in this world. When we are in love, we promise to move the mountains if need be to get our love. And when we are depressed, even the simplest of problems appears as a burden, and simple hardships makes us feel we are being victimized.  We also take comfort in assuming that the hardships in life are unique to us. I myself have spent a lot of my time wondering “why me?”. As my older brother so eloquently puts it, “wallowing in my sorrow like a hippo in a swamp”.  We easily pull out a list of reasons to not improve ourselves and become better people. We would rather blame our surroundings, the world and the dog two doors down for our problem and misery but ourselves.  What we make this world out to be is from our very own mind and thinking. And how we choose to accept this world or change it is also by our own mind. But this begins with making ourselves better. If we look within ourselves and make the necessary positive changes, our outlook and attitude will change. It is all within. The wise men and women of the past have said it all. They have done and accomplished the impossible and left behind their legacy which speaks of their hardships, and challenges and how they overcame the unthinkable oppositions and hardships to change themselves and the world around them.

He who rejects change is the architect of decay.  The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery.  ~Harold Wilson

If you would attain to what you are not yet, you must always be displeased by what you are.  For where you are pleased with yourself there you have remained.  Keep adding, keep walking, keep advancing.  ~Saint Augustine

So how can be become a better person? Before I share some of my points which is not anything new though, I would firstly like to list a few well-known individuals who changed their world by changing themselves first. They too fought against their share of hardships and hurdles and changed their attitude and character to accomplish the impossible. All of these individuals over came their hardships, rejections, stifling obstacles and yet persevered to over come them and achieve things that seems impossible once. This was perhaps accomplished due to their persistent drive to change themselves, their thinking and attitude towards their unwavering goal and belief in their own abilities and skills.  They did not give in to criticism or rejections, but took them in their stride, analyzed their mistakes and made the changes they needed to over come their faults and pave their own way to success. Their lives should stand as pillars of proof for every one of us that we are not unique in facing obstacles, hardships or rejections. Instead it is perhaps a very necessary process that we need to face to help us become better and enable us to achieve greater things in life. This only goes to show us, that it is all within our will, determination and mind to self improve and change the world around us:

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Abraham Lincoln – One of the most amazing and often referred to.  Abraham Lincoln, lost his fiancé, had a nervous breakdown, first went into politics at the age of 23 when he campaigned for a seat in the Illinois General Assembly and failed. He was defeated in 8 elections. He once also opened a general store which failed after only a few months.

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Robert M Pirsig – His well known book “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” was rejected by 121 publishers. Since finally being published in 1974 it has gone on to sell millions of copies in 27 languages.

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Michael Jordan – A well publicized and well known fact about the most famous name in basketball was actually cut from his high school basketball team.

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 John Wayne – Before his successful acting career he was rejected from the United States Naval Academy.

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Steven Spielberg – This household name dropped out of high school and applied to attend film school three times but was unsuccessful due to his C grade average.

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Beethoven – His music teacher once told him that he was a hopeless composer.

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Harry S. Truman – This former US President was rejected by the US Military & Naval Academies due to his poor eyesight. At one point he was a clerk in a newspaper mailroom, and also an usher in a movie theater.

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Babe Ruth – This baseball legend struck out 1,330 times.

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Henry Ford – The Ford Motor Co was Henry Ford’s third business, the first two didn’t work out.

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Winston Churchill – This former British Prime Minister did poorly in school and had a speech impediment in his early years.

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Marilyn Monroe – Marilyn Monroe spent much of her younger years in foster homes. One of her first jobs, during the Second World War, was inspecting parachutes. Producer told her she was “unattractive” and could not act.

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Walt Disney – He was fired by the editor of a newspaper for lacking in ideas.

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Soichiro Honda – The founder of Honda was turned down for an engineering job by Toyota after World War Two.

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Charles Darwin – His father told him he would amount to nothing and would be a disgrace to himself and his family.

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Albert Einstein – He learned to speak at a late age and performed poorly in school.

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Thomas Edison – As a boy he was told by his teacher that he was too stupid to learn anything.

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Isaac Newton- He failed at running the family farm and did poorly in school.

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The Vice President of Columbia told this actor that he was never going to make it in the business. The actor? – Harrison Ford

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Turned down by a recording company saying “We don’t like their sound and guitar music is on the way out” They were talking about the Beatles

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Were told by Publishers that “anthologies didn’t sell” and the book was “too positive” Rejected a total of 140 times. The book? Chicken Soup for the Soul. It now has 65 different titles and has sold over 80 million copies all over the world.

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Was not allowed to wait on customers in the store he worked in because “he didn’t have enough sense” – F. W. Woolworth

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Auditioned for All My Children and got rejected – Julia Roberts

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Received 30 rejections and the author threw it in the trash. Luckily his wife fished it out again and encouraged him to resubmit it. The book was Carrie – the author Stephen King

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Gandhi, gave up on this wealth, and many worldly things to first change his attitude and behaviour. Then he set on to change his fellow country men. And thus achieved the impossible and changed the world for ever.

“It’s not that some people have willpower and some don’t. It’s that some people are ready to change and others are not.” ~ James Gordon

There are several things we can do as individuals to develop a good positive personality that will attract others to us in a positive manner, help us achieve more, develop self-confidence and above all eventually inspire our immediate surroundings.

First, one has to be honest to themself when it comes to analyzing their own life. They need to indulge in self-analysis and see for themselves how does their current personality compare. One has to take time to truly understand their rights, wrongs, character, strengths, weaknesses, and identify the need to make the necessary changes in a genuine effort to change.

Next, be positive. Try to look at life with some humor and dignity. Smile and laugh at things, adopt a humorous perspective to things as and when you can. Laugh, be happy, share a joke or two, this helps you learn to take things positively and handle stress better. It is true when they say a laugher a day keeps the doctor away. It improves your health, good for your lungs, and heart. If you are a happy person wearing a smile always, your happy disposition usually will attract people to you, and you will always be perceived in a much better light and loved by all.

Then, show your positivity and expresses it positively as well, by actions and behaviour. Be helpful and offer a helping hand to your fellow human beings. Like yourself each of us need some help or the other at times in life. Let your actions show the world of your mind and heart. Show it in actions by helping one and other. Be purposeful and useful to others. The gratitude and sense of purpose you feel by helping others is far greater. It in turn builds your own self-esteem and gains more respect and appreciation from others.

And last but certainly not least, learn to and strive to become a better human being by the practice of balanced self-criticism in an honest effort to self improve. Let go of ego and pride. Be humble, be polite, be kind to others, express appreciation and appreciate any good you find in others. Become the change you like to see in the world you live. Become positive, become happier, do greater things for greater cause, help others, and don’t hesitate to ask for help. Be human.

“Employ your time in improving yourself by other men’s writings so that you shall gain easily what others have labored hard for.” ~Socrates

Realize your true, authentic self. Remember that your personality and character is nothing more than how you react, act and interact in this world. How people see you and identify you by your good attributes. And this personality stems from your innermost thoughts, perceptions, ideas, and eventual actions and expressions. Allow your character to be developed, let it progress, let it be unique and make it great and make it yours.


Against the Odds to Success!


 

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“If you are going through hell, keep going” – Sir Winston Churchill

It can’t be said any better in the simplest way. Just keep going, do not stop, turn back, deviate, or give up, but just keep going until you get out of it. Many of us are faced with many heart breaking or disappointing situations in our lives. It is how life works. Perhaps it is a necessary evil in our lives that makes us value happiness and appreciate our other blessings in life. Also I do understand that how people act or react to each situation is unique to their individual personalities and experiences and thus I am not generalizing any set universal solution or approach to help stop a self-destructive process due to any given incident.

I have experienced this type of behavior first hand a few times in my life and struggled with this phase myself with all that I could to get out of it. I did loose a huge part of my life, emotions, peace, mental balance, and valuable time doing so, but I survived. Now that I am out of that in my life, I can’t help but see it as an escape from a high security prison, where I was being incarcerated for something I never did or deserved this punishment for. But now that I have cried my way out of it, dug the deepest trenches, crawled out of the darkest tunnels and after immense struggle I see the light of day and freedom, I feel it has been an experience I need to share. I have come across many people while I was going through my difficult times and many after my struggles that I see are still caught in their shock, sorrow, and disbelief of being in a situation as such and finding it very hard to see what they can do to get out of these situations in life.

I have learned several lessons in the process and learned firstly to analyze and understand my actions and reactions to each and every situation in life. I learned that I may not be able to understand why others did what they did and how can they be so in humane and ruthless in their actions. But the only thing I had full and exclusive control over is my actions, reactions, determination, persistence to succeed, ability to think and my will to defend myself from such things and recover from a fall. This further led me to see each and every single option I had at my disposal that I could have chosen to avoid these incidents from happening. But if only I had the wisdom, and smarts to separate my emotions from my rationality I could have avoided a lot of problems in my life. It is strange how life finds a way to warn you about things that could go wrong and we somehow see it but never realize it in good time. I have spoken to many others who have experienced hardships and betrayal in their lives or even those who have taken wrong decisions in life and if they too where able to see the signs of warnings but were blinded by their emotions. And to my surprise almost each and every person did see these signs and chose to avoid and ignore them as they let their emotions override their rational thinking and common sense. And there were those who saw such sings but still chose to continue because they places a very high level of trust in luck, goodness within people and fate.

But I realized that when we face such difficult times, we let our emotions take over our intelligence. We begin to feel sorry for ourselves and take the situation as though it was a failure on our part. But I also realized that it was absolutely okay to fail in our lives. It only takes such failures and set backs for us to build ourselves stringer and go further in our lives. Failure is nothing but often the first step to success. If you never fail, you will never succeed truly. The best of horsemen have often broken a bone or two. But they became the best because they chose to get back on that horse as soon as they fell. It is in the darkest of hours and times that the best things in life were created and the brightest ideas were born. And what is more amazing is that the simplest and most ordinary of men came up with these greatest ideas and creations. But the fact remains that it was often from the darkest of times and the severest of hurdles, obstacles and criticisms the most ordinary of men came through with the greatest of creations, inventions and ideas.

I am listing a few famous failures below. At one point the idea of these people reaching the heights they have reached would have seemed absurd, but they too faced their share of hardships and many of their ideas, spirit and courage were born out of these hardships. Many didn’t just fail, they failed in spectacular fashion and they failed several times. They didn’t for once accept the negative and give up saying that are imperfect human beings, but instead they took pride and had belief in their capabilities, abilities, drive, courage, and the will to stand up again and fight till they got what they wanted. They were persistent to succeed, had the patience to keep failing, learning from their failures, holding on to their hope, keep trying and wait for their time to come and then some more to succeed, and be determined regardless of consequences. 

 

Abraham Lincoln – One of the most amazing and often referred to. Former US president Abraham Lincoln, lost his fiancé, had a nervous breakdown, first went into politics at the age of 23 when he campaigned for a seat in the Illinois General Assembly and failed. He was defeated in 8 elections. He once also opened a general store which failed after only a few months.

 

Robert M Pirsig – His well known book “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” was rejected by 121 publishers. Since finally being published in 1974 it has gone on to sell millions of copies in 27 languages.

 

Michael Jordan – A well publicized and well known fact about the most famous name in basketball was actually cut from his high school basketball team.

 

 John Wayne – Before his successful acting career he was rejected from the United  States Naval Academy.

 

Steven Spielberg – This household name dropped out of high school and applied to attend film school three times but was unsuccessful due to his C grade average.

 

Beethoven – His music teacher once told him that he was a hopeless composer.

Harry S. Truman – This former USP resident was rejected by the US Military & Naval Academies due to his poor eyesight. At one point he was a clerk in a newspaper mailroom, and also an usher in a movie theater.

 

Babe Ruth – This baseball legend struck out 1,330 times.

 

Henry Ford – The Ford Motor Co was Henry Ford’s third business, the first two didn’t work out.

 

Winston Churchill – This former British Prime Minister did poorly in school and had a speech impediment in his early years.

 

Marilyn Monroe – Marilyn Monroe spent much of her younger years in foster homes. One of her first jobs, during the Second World War, was inspecting parachutes. Producer told her she was “unattractive” and could not act.

 

Walt Disney – He was fired by the editor of a newspaper for lacking in ideas.

 

Soichiro Honda – The founder of Honda was turned down for an engineering job by Toyota after World War Two.

 

Charles Darwin – His father told him he would amount to nothing and would be a disgrace to himself and his family.

 

Albert Einstein – He learned to speak at a late age and performed poorly in school.

 

Thomas Edison – As a boy he was told by his teacher that he was too stupid to learn anything.

 

Isaac Newton- He failed at running the family farm and did poorly in school.

 

The Vice President of Columbia told this actor that he was never going to make it in the business. The actor? – Harrison Ford

 

Turned down by a recording company saying “We don’t like their sound and guitar music is on the way out” They were talking about the Beatles

 

Were told by Publishers that “anthologies didn’t sell” and the book was “too positive” Rejected a total of 140 times. The book? Chicken Soup for the Soul. It now has 65 different titles and has sold over 80 million copies all over the world.

 

Was not allowed to wait on customers in the store he worked in because “he didn’t have enough sense” – F. W. Woolworth

 

Auditioned for All My Children and got rejected – Julia Roberts

 

Received 30 rejections and the author threw it in the trash. Luckily his wife fished it out again and encouraged him to resubmit it. The book was Carrie – the author Stephen King

So, what do we learn from these examples? Should life throw a curve ball at us, do we accept defeat and let ourselves sink?  It is very important for us to learn to accept defeat and failure as a part of our lives.

We will be defeated in love, work, school, sports, relationships, trust, faith and almost everything that we lean on. It is absolutely possible and expected for a person to be betrayed, cheated, let down, hurt etc. We are dealing with many such imperfect people who have chosen the negatives over the positives and live their life based on negative facts. They may have chosen and given up on becoming better human beings and the will, drive, desire and decency to question themselves and their actions. They may prefer to blame the world, weather, and the dog for their choice and lack of actions. Do they inspire you? Are such people of any value to anyone? Are they valuable to themselves? Would you want to be like them?

It is okay to fail, fail, and fail again. But what is important is that you tried. And what is even more important is that you either correct yourself, analyze your reason to fail and try it again after you correct it, or stop doing the same mistake over and again. As they say, one of the definitions of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. This is true and applicable in almost every aspect in your life. Especially in relationships that usually is one of the main factors that suck out the best out of our lives. Instead of dwelling over a failed relationship and taking out the anger on the world or yourself, or even blaming yourself for something you have or have not done, stop that process. Instead, analyze, realize you’re a human being, correct yourself, learn from your mistake and move on. The importance and absolute emphasis is NOT TO BE AFRAID OF FAILURE! I can’t stress enough of this one single factor. Every single great and successful persona will tell you this as they too have only succeeded after having failed. The reason they succeeded is because they failed, fell hard, picked themselves up, dusted themselves, nursed their wounds and moved forward again. They kept trying, learning from their failures and kept moving forward until they succeed. In work, at home, in business, in relationships, in love, in ambition and life they kept moving forward until they achieved success and then took great pleasure to cherish and enjoy their resulting rewards.

But if you were wronged and your set back or failure is a result of someone who hurt you or cheated you? Do not be petty minded, and low in your thinking by wanting to hurt the other person in return. Revenge is a weak and cowardly act. This is one of the major factors many young people waste and destroy their lives in, taking revenge or spite someone as a comeback. Instant retaliation is a sign of weakness. The need for instant retaliation is an act of those who are small in thinking and they do it as an immediate need to nurse their hurt ego.

Revenge which can also be referred to as vengeance. It is is a low and inhumane act to hurt a person or group as a response to a real or perceived grievance. Usually the only goal or intention of a revengeful act is forcing the person who is perceived as the wrongdoer or someone who has hurt you, to suffer the same or greater pain than that which was originally inflicted. Revenge, although sweet for that moment, the guilt, shame and pain of recoil lasts a life time. It is greater to forgive and forget it is perhaps better to forgive and not forget the lesson you learn for the experience. I have to my shock and fear witnessed what is commonly known as Karma. For no one escapes their deeds. As an outsider we may not see it or realize nature’s way of getting even with ones deeds, but it sure does happen. For when it does happen, the wrongdoer will surely realize the reason and at times appear in your life again only to ask for forgiveness. This I have seen, experienced and totally believe in. If you are truly right, and you were innocent, the truth shall prevail and those who wronged you shall pay in a very natural way in this life time when it shall hurt them the most and when they shall realize it most. If one takes the time to follow all the atrocities in the world, we see some sort of eventual justice being done often. Leaders who were tyrants often end in the most dramatic and tragic and disrespectful manner. Call it karmic justice for their deeds or what so ever, but as human beings we learn to forgive looking at their sad state. If law and society doesn’t get them, nature will. It is important for one to learn to make peace and move on.

Some famous Quotes on revenge:

“An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.” – Mahatma Gandhi

 

“Hatred is the coward’s revenge for being intimidated.” -George Bernard Shaw

 

‘Tis more noble to forgive, and more manly to despise, than to revenge an Injury.” – Benjamin Franklin

 

Revenge converts a little right into a great wrong. – German Proverb

 

The rarer action is, in virtue than in vengeance.  – William Shakespeare in The Tempest

“The best Revenge is massive success.” – Frank Sinatra

 

“Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.” – Confucius

Next, do not be cynical about life. As Oscar Wilde once said about being a Cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing”. Take a step back; analyze first your decision, your reactions and what you could have done to avoid the situation. Next be forgiving and learn from this mistake. Avoid such individuals or situation next time around. And above all, move forward, and progress in life. In a few years you will not even remember this event or may be too busy with other priorities in life. This experience or phase will just be a bad memory of the past. But this happens only when you will move forward in life as opposed or regressing and letting a bad even take over your life and control your future. Do not be negative about a mishap in life.

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Learn to recognize your positivity, your smartness, your ability, your skills, your successes and count your blessings. Look around at the people who love you, care about you, and genuinely wish well for you. If you reach out for a stranger, even he or she will lend you a hand. Believe in good and fairness. It does exist. Look back at the things you have done in your life that had gained you recognition, appreciation and love. Realize that was you the same person today. Each of us has some skill or ability that is unique to us. Identify and develop yours. Give, be generous, and smile. One of the first things I did when I got divorced was to sponsor a child in a war-torn country. It was a very gratifying act knowing that I too could be valuable and helpful to someone.

Understand that bad things happen to every single person on this earth. From the richest people to the poorest. Some times the poorest have to cope with the severest of tragedies as well. It is a natural occurrence since life began on this planet. One can learn from history that kingdoms, great cultures, and many great individuals have been devastated by bad things happening to them. Even what seems to us a fairytale wedding, some of those couples end up in broken marriages, and natural disasters wipe out whole families or cities. Compare your life with them and see how blessed you are still. Don’t dwell on the tragic things that happen to you, you are not the only nice person suffering, there are several more like you. Look towards your future, and progress. Learn to take bad things in stride and be aware. Be watchful, try to develop your ability to expect and defend yourself from such happenings in life. Be prepared and smart at all times.  

Lastly, control yourself and your urge to become a lesser and disgraceful human being by acting like one. Try to grow up and take a mature and graceful stance on matters in life. Do not stoop low to a level of a person who acts poorly. Remember that often silence and control is a much smarter way to respond to situations. We seldom have to respond immediately, but it sure can always be polite and we can always ask or take time to react after thinking. Responding in rage, anger, harsh words and stooping to the other person’s level often will lead you to self-destruction and actions that you surely will eventually regret.

So, when you see yourself in an auto self destruct mode, or being wronged, or failing in your trials to achieve or accomplish something that is important to you, please take efforts to do the following and it is only in your own ability and will to do it:

Realize you are destroying yourself, your future, and your life for the amusement and entertainment of others who do not care about you but at the expense of your loved ones and yourself.

Know that at times what you think is betrayal or a loss when someone walks away from you; it could actually be for your own good as they secretly know something about themselves are too ashamed to share it with you for your own good.

Do not question or try to analyze the motives of others when you are wronged. Only they truly know their motives, reasons and let them justify it with their poor reasoning abilities or suffer from eventual guilt.

Analyze your actions, reactions and mistakes. Think of the warning signals you ignored, your reactions to them, your action, your mistakes that you could have avoided or controlled and learn from them. Remember them, and do not repeat them.

Do not indulge in revenge, retaliation, and petty behavior. Show class, decency, pride, and maturity. Walk away, be calm, know in your heart that nature will surely teach them a lesson and you may or may not see it. There is a very good chance they will come back to you and apologize. Forgive them but never forget your mistakes.

Do not indulge in negativity. Be positive and choose to move ahead in life for better things. Know that bad things happen to everyone. Be it a president, a millionaire, a poor person, a celebrity or an unknown. Each move on. They pick themselves up, dust themselves, learn from their fall and move on only to become stronger and smarter next time and win more respect and admiration for how they handled their situation.

Others can tell you things all you want to hear There are good friends, family, professionals etc all to advice you on how to rebound or what to do. Many a times you yourself know what needs to be done and what are the right things to do. The challenge is to CHOOSE to do it. To get up and take action.

Always remember that it is absolutely normal and okay to fail. Not just once, but twice or three times. But learn from your mistakes and correct yourself. You need to stop yourself from failing. You do it in video games; you do it in love, friendship and many tasks that interest you. You just have to choose, stop, refocus and make genuine efforts to win and succeed.

Be human. Be humble; recognize others are human beings too. People are usually product if their experiences and circumstances and so are you. But the decision to let those affect you negatively is yours. And the reaction is your choice. Be it positive or negative it is your choice and you will face the consequences of your choice.

Word hard to develop and carry the attitude to succeed, accomplish, do great things, and achieve greater goals and do greater deeds in life. Have the attitude and aptitude to inspire, lead, protect, defend and shine in your life as good, decent, and fantastic human being.

Solidify your ability to endure, persevere and keep trying with just one unwavering goal and aim to accomplish your desire and the resulting rewards. Be it to get a qualification, a degree, an exam, a profession, a task in a job, an ambition, a deed for your loved ones, or even being patient for the sake of your loved ones happiness. 

Above all, aspire to win. Inspire others by winning against the odds. Show them how it is done and do it well. Motivate others by setting an example on how to come out of the darkness. Share your successes and see it help others.

Remember this always: If you fail in one thing it doesn’t mean you are bad in everything. You could be great or the greatest in one particular thing in life if you wish. And you are always lot more worth than you think of yourself to be. Take on a simple commitment like adopting or sponsoring an innocent poor child who could be a victim of poverty, war, or a natural disaster. Realize the simple great things you can do every day in your life and make it worthwhile.

Your life is nothing more than the choices you make in your reactions to everyday events!


Awaken your Conscience – the beginning to happiness and success


 

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The strange thing about us human beings is that we often spend a lot of time and energy searching for ideas, and answers which often are found within ourselves. Many blame the world and everything they can and some often find their answers within. One of the most important answer we often seem to seek is: if we are doing the right thing? Or is what we are doing good for us? And as many accomplished and successful people have pointed out based on their own experiences: “listen to your inner voice or gut feeling”. Somehow this inner voice seems to know all the right answers and helps guide you often to the right things in life. And when we do something wrong it begins to eat us up from inside with guilt. But this inner voice is only heard if one pays attention and takes the effort to query or listen to it. And it only works if you take the necessary positive actions to do the right thing. This magical phenomenon that all of us have been gifted with is almost like a divine compass called Conscience. Like all the greatest gifts that we have Conscience is also another intangible and immeasurable possession like love, feelings, thinking etc.

Conscience is often found as a feeling of remorse when a human being commits actions that go against his or her moral values and beliefs. Conscience is like an aptitude, intuition or judgment of our thoughts and behaviours that distinguishes right from wrong. And us humans are asked to invoke this conscience universally through all religious belief systems and by means of any basic intellectual norms.

The word “conscience” is derived from the Latin word conscientia, meaning “privity of knowledge” or “with-knowledge”. The English word implies internal awareness of a moral standard in the mind concerning the quality of one’s motives, as well as a consciousness of our own actions. Conscience may be defined as the practical reason employed when applying moral convictions to a situation The many philosophers, or saints often ask to invoke our conscience to develop it, as they themselves do through daily contemplation or meditation combined with selfless service to others. Such developed state of conscience helps create a strong sense of intuitive insight or revelation to many. This helps a person to use their intellect towards positive and humane causes, pursue further knowledge, be self critical with the focus of self improvement and on a general level apply fair justice in his or her life.  

Yet we, the most developed and gifted species choose to live by killing our own conscience. Our pride, ego, anger and prejudice help us do things against our very own conscience until it is too late. The sad fact is that while one does things that go against their own moral values or beliefs, the conscience keep telling them that it is wrong. Once we do things against our conscience and fail, our conscience begins to hurt us with the feeling of severe guilt. But instead of taking the necessary positive steps to undo the damage many still continue to stifle this inner voice with rage and anger or drown it in intoxication.  We the intelligent, civilized and knowledgeable species choose such.

It is plain common sense that many of our personal and worlds’ ills are result of actions in rage and blind fury. The things we say to hurt others, the things we do to hurt others and ourselves, the greed we posses, the prejudice we hold, the disrespect we show are some of the things we do often against our conscience. The violent killings, the communal  riots, steeling, damaging things, wars, or theft are all things that people do against their basic human moral values and beliefs.

But this gift of conscience is a wonderful thing. It is the conscience that makes the individual set out to accomplish great feats and do the impossible, it makes people charitable, invokes the wealthy to become philanthropists, invokes love, compassion, and righteousness. It makes us become better people, do greater things in life, and helps us succeed.

Some quotes on Conscience:  

 

Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it.
Albert Einstein

All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
Thomas Jefferson

The human voice can never reach the distance that is covered by the still small voice of conscience.
Mohandas Gandhi

All credibility, all good conscience, all evidence of truth come only from the senses.
Friedrich Nietzsche

Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire, called conscience.
George Washington

I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death.
Leonardo da Vinci

Through pride we are ever deceiving ourselves. But deep down below the surface of the average conscience a still, small voice says to us, something is out of tune.
Carl Jung

War is so unjust and ugly that all who wage it must try to stifle the voice of conscience within themselves.
Leo Tolstoy

When freedom does not have a purpose, when it does not wish to know anything about the rule of law engraved in the hearts of men and women, when it does not listen to the voice of conscience, it turns against humanity and society.
Pope John Paul II

 

Development of Conscience:

Most people live with a self conceived idea and parameters of morality. It may be okay to lie a little but not to deceive or they may be comfortable to speak just to the advantages of doing something but choose to hide the negatives. But in general terms there is limit to who they choose to do and what they do not based on their moral values and comfort. These limits they choose change though time based on their individual experiences, social pressures and norms, or communal rituals and belief systems. But the conscience within eventually brings about a sense of balance as an individual evolves. But until such time the turmoil one can endure often affects their success and happiness in life.

So, how can one develop sound and balanced approach towards nurturing their conscience and morality to live a happy, content, and successful and guilt free life?

There are several theories based on studies of set groups. But it takes some honest self criticism and the will to self develop to come up with some key objectives:

1)      One needs to see the need to self develop and the need to adhere to balanced and just moral values and conduct. This in turn helps develop their inner conscience on sound principles which will allow them to do what is right and make them feel bad when they go against it.

2)      Fair judgement on balanced opinions and values. This can be practiced by not immediately reacting to any given situation. Exercising calm and some thinking can always help take a positive approach towards issues at hand. This becomes crucial to control haste and anger where patience and understanding would be more valuable.

3)      Respect and Equality for one and all. This would avoid people holding prejudice and tame ones ego. People who do not practice this often continue to live a life of arrogance, and self indulgence at the cost of other people’s happiness, self respect and peace. But they also live a life of continuous fight against their inner guilt and general level of discontent about everything in life.

Life is too short to waste time over petty behaviours and toiling in guilt. Many of our ills and unhappiness are out of our own choices and actions in life which are often against out very one divine gift called conscience. Awaken your conscience, live happier and become successful based on moral and balanced conscience!


Cubixrule – The art of solving your problems


“Every problem contains within itself the seeds of its own solution.” ~Stanley Arnold

“Cubixrule” is a term I came up with for the process I use to solve many things that I consider a problem. It is rather an unconventional way to approach a problem as an opportunity to developed a solution as opposed to seeing a problem as something that we have to put up with rather than solve.

The term “Cubixrule” itself was inspired from Rubik’s Cube, which I was introduced to by my older brother when I was about 11 years old. It was the hottest things in the world then. Everyone was talking about the complexities of this puzzle and were racing to figure out a solution. After several weeks I had developed a solution on my own. Ever since I learned to solve it by myself by developing a few short series of algorithms, I began to apply the belief that if I could solve such a complex puzzle, I must be able to solve many other problems in life.

Many years later, my older brother once again (God bless him) got me another puzzle. This time it was another puzzle developed by the same inventor Rubik again. This one was called Rubik’s clock. Along with this puzzle, my brother gave me a copy of a Time magazine in which there was a small article about this new puzzle and how the inventor himself was seeking a physical solution still. The computer suggested a few million possible solutions to this puzzle, but an actual physical solution was not developed yet. Unlike the cube this puzzle was a disc with nice clock faces on either side. The objective was to turn the four dials on the side of this puzzle and get all the nine clock hands to the 12’0 clock position on both sides.  

Three and a half days later, I had solved the puzzle and had developed a 17 step solution to solve the puzzle in less than 30 seconds. Once again I applied the “Cubixrule”. By this time, I had formed a definition for this word in my mind. It was a few positive fact based statements to define the thought process to solve a given problem.

 Cubixrule – is a thought process where it is believed that:  “Every problem has a solution. It is only a problem until a solution is developed by someone. Therefore, every problem is nothing more than an undeveloped solution. And the challenge to be the first one to develop the solution is an opportunity to lead the world to a new higher level”

 I have since often reverted to “Cubixrule” when ever I have been pushed against the wall by a problem or stressful issue in life. My mind begins to think of various possible solutions that I can possibly come up with in a short period of time. And strangely after mulling over this phase for some time, I often stumble upon the “Eureka” moment often in the middle of the night or in my dream. This eureka moment is when I come up with a solution that was earlier considered to be unthinkable, unimaginable, impossible, or often simply plain stupid. And it arrives with a sense of confidence, and vigor that never dies until I have tried it and made it work.

“Focus 90% of your time on solutions and only 10% of your time on problems.” ~Anthony J. D’Angelo

But “Cubixrule” has its challenges too. Because it involves a level of unconventional thought process, sense of immense confidence in self and determination to come up with a solution that was undeveloped ever before, it may be considered to be stupid by the world around us. Historically, when someone spends their time on doing something that is popularly considered to be as impossible, it has always been considered to be a waste, an effort in vain, and often stupid. And the challenge is not to give in to this pressure. Never!  There may be several trials, errors and failures in Cubixrule. But being persistent, logical, analytical, and realistic is a must if you are determined to succeed. It is also important to always see every failure as a lesson to learn from and build on its teachings. Always remind yourself that the problem on hand is just an undeveloped solution.

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” ~Albert Einstein

It is true when they say that: “Only the ordinary people do the most extraordinary of things”. Every scientist, politician, visionary, inventor, discoverer, musician who gave our world many wonderful things and knowledge were once considered to be ordinary. Each and every one of them faced their hardships, critics, ridicule, depression, stress and obstacles and overcame them by their own respective versions of “Cubixrule”. They each did the extraordinary. The saw the undeveloped solution and set to develop one themselves and eventually proved their world wrong.  If one digs a little deeper into any of the major inventions, processes, solutions that we enjoy today and how they were developed, we will soon learn that each one of them faced and over came their problems by seeking out the respective solutions.

Likewise, we are all such ordinary people who can certainly do extraordinary things. Many of us many not realize that we have been doing many such things since our childhood. If we were people who fear failure or what people will say or think we would have never learned to walk as a child, we would have never learned to speak, learn, express our feelings, study, face the world, have relationships, grow up and succeed. But we did and continue to do such things all the time. We each faced our share of respective challenges and over came them after a few falls, failures, trials and errors. Some hurdles in life may be small and some very tough, but nevertheless, we  use our internal positive will and energy to over come them. We can move further to solve many such problems in our lives and accomplish many extraordinary things. All we got to do is to see each problem we face with our version of “CUBIXRULE” based on our objectives, will, and the desire to solve it. Be it a financial problem, a relationship, a work related, mechanical, or any problem that life throws our way, the attitude, will, and the determined approach we apply will eventually help solve it. The art is to look at the “problem” as an “opportunity” or a challenge to use all our skills, experience and intelligence to find a solution and solve it!

So, what is your problem?


The right choice is often a difficult path


The right choice is often a difficult path

 

Amongst all the wonders we are blessed with, one of the most powerful things that we have got is the power of “free will” or Choice. Specifically the choices we can make in life on a day to day basis between good and bad and how we wish to be or become as evolving human beings. I must also say that I am aware that choices are at times limited to people based on the circumstances they live in, but I am talking about the choices that still many have in lives in an effort to have a better living and happier and meaningful lives regardless of their circumstances.

Choice: a mental process which helps us to judge and analyze from multiple options and selecting one of them based on preference. Choosing from these multiple options usually results in a consequence or a need for action that would eventually derive at a desired consequence.  In any given day as human beings we are subject to making several choices that affect our living. They may be from the simplest forms to complex in nature. The consequences of these choices or decision to choose one from another may affect our lifestyle, religious affiliation, political position, finances, attitude towards others, reaction to situations, and health.

Our life essentially is nothing but a collective result of the choices we have made along the way. There choices were made at several moments in life, based on several experiences and circumstances, but nevertheless these were our choices and we face and live the consequences of these very choices. We may choose to blame the circumstances, but nevertheless the choice was ours and we are solely responsible for those choices and the eventual outcome. We each have the power and freedom to choose right from wrong. Often we end up choosing easy from hard and sadly the hard ends up being the right one to choose. The righteous and just thing to do often involves hardships, disagreement from common folk, against certain odds, and at times contrary to common thinking. But it is in such choices that great accomplishments lie. Greatness has never been served on a silver platter, but it has only been earned by the choices made against all odds with the will, determination and perseverance. But it begins with the choice. And the power to choose is in your very power.

Before I was sent to England for schooling, my oldest brother sat me down and gave me a few valuable tips on what to expect and how to cope in a boarding school, new country, and above all how to uphold my dignity and self-respect. He always had a profound way to deliver his advice which would stick like a note with a board pin into my brain. His advises, as I can recall, always puts butterflies in my stomach and makes me smile as he would start off in all seriousness and end up with a hilarious one-liner and a smile. He told me about how friendships should be an equal relationship, how to take pride of who I am and uphold our decency, how to learn from my mistakes etc.  Among a barrage of things he threw at me that day over lunch he mentioned to me that there will be every vice, temptation, and choices of right and wrong thrown at me in my life as I go on. But, what makes one into a fine man or a failure, are the choices he makes and actions he takes once his choice has been made.

I was 17 then and I remember it was a Wednesday. Quiz day in Physics every Wednesday, first lesson in the morning. I wasn’t prepared, totally clueless and dumb as a needle on the subject that week. Perhaps my heart was too tangled in my dreams of falling in love with the amazingly new cute girl who helps out at our daily lunch hall. Anyways, as soon as our teacher came in, he passed out our question paper and told us that he will be very disappointed with anyone who will get less than 90% in this weekly quiz as it was one of his easier ones. Translated it means as follows: “It’s a tough paper, as it has just one question which clearly involves a lot of calculations. Should you get less than 90% he will put in a good word in our principal’s ear about our performance.” Having distributed the question paper and made his statement, he gave us 45 minutes to finish and he walked out of the class room.

The moment he walked out. There was the usual yet typical mumbling, cursing and looking at each others face for a few moments. Then one of us boldly walked up to the door stuck his neck out to see if our teacher wasn’t close by, and shut it back firmly and walked back to his desk. Quickly, almost everyone flipped out their text books and began to answer the equation precisely and fast. I looked around in amazement as I saw my buddies scribble away in a frenzy like they were writing their wish lists for toys and girls. I too had my text book with me, but I was thinking if I should or shouldn’t follow suit. And just then I remembered my power of choice and should my poor choice get the best of me, how will I let down my dearest brother’s aspiration about me. So, I sat there and stuck to my choice and decision to do the right thing and not cheat. My closest buddy glanced at me and asked me what was wrong? He quickly offered his text book to me to follow suit. I politely refused. He called me an idiot and nodded his head in disgust and disbelief. I sat through for 45 minutes and tried working out some other equation I knew as practice on a piece of paper. The teacher came back and collected everyone papers and took off again. 

Next morning I was at the center meeting hall in school where all students gather to grab their mug of coffee or tea before the classes begin. I knew I was going to be embarrassed and humiliated in my Physics class just before our first break. So I was being quiet and already being embarrassed of my upcoming doom. And before I realized, as all bad things do, the hour was upon my head. I dragged my foot from one class to another and planning out how I will react and how will other classmates react at the meeting hall soon after the class and spread the news about the scores to everyone in school. Particularly, how my score will be announced by our ever so sarcastic teacher in his classic British humor with a snide remark that will make everyone laugh. 

After all of us sat down and there was this impatient silence for a bit for the scores, our teacher called out my name first. I stood up with my chin stuck to my chest. He said I was the only student who passed the quiz and the rest failed. He further went on to say that if anyone disagreed with his scoring they were free to talk to the principal about it. For a moment I took it as his first sarcastic jab. I waited for a few more seconds for the next. But no one else reacted, and he asked me to sit down and continued with that day’s lesson. No one questioned his scores due to their guilt and I sat there feeling silly but yet still unsure of his decision. At the end of the class, he walked up to me as I was leaving the door, and said, he was extremely proud of my decision not to cheat and offered to tutor me after class if I needed any help in his subject as he was pleased to have a student with such honesty and integrity in his class.

During the break at the main meeting hall, my class mates walked up to me and shook my hand and said they had a lot of respect for me and my decision. They also went on to share this news with their other school mates. I was approached by other fellow school mates who heard about this and shook my hands and expressed their appreciation. And I was amazed to see how a simple choice to do the right thing could have such an amazing impact. I couldn’t help but think of what I had expected of my choice earlier that morning and what it had turned out to be. It was an experience that I still am very proud off till date. And it was an experience that thought me and reaffirmed what my brother had told me about choice. “What makes one into a fine man or a failure, are the choices he makes and actions he takes once that choice is made”.

We are always faced with such choices in our lives. We are always given these options and choices to choose from in almost every aspect of our life. But we need to have the wisdom, integrity, and the will to make the right choices for ourselves. The life we live is designed to challenge you to make the right choices in life. And each of your day to day choices result in a continuous change and the resulting consequences that shape your life. One must always remember that one can change his or her life by simply making the right choices in life. It’s entirely up to you. You can get rid of old habits, change unwanted situations, make better lifestyle choices, choose a better diet, choose better food, better friends, better reactions to situations and problems, and give yourself the wisdom and courage to achieve great things in your life by making good, educated and right choices in life.

Here are some chosen inspirational quotes from some well-known people, that helps understand the power of choice:

 “Man is made or unmade by himself. By the right choice he ascends. As a being of power, intelligence, and love, and the lord of his own thoughts, he holds the key to every situation.” – James Allen (1864-1912, author of As a Man Thinketh)

 “You and I are essentially infinite choice-makers. In every moment of our existence, we are in the that field of possibilities where we have access to an infinity of choices.” – Deepak Chopra (1946-…, physician and author of The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success)

 “Until a person can say deeply and honestly, “I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday,” that person cannot say, “I choose otherwise” – Stephen R. Covey (1932-…, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)

 “There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them.”- Denis Waitley (1933-…, motivational speaker and author of The Psychology of Winning)

 The strongest principle of growth lies in human choice. – George Eliot

  Start with what is right rather than what is acceptable. – Peter F. Drucker

 It’s choice – not chance – that determines your destiny. – Jean Nidetch

In today’s world, many of us are also spoilt with choices. We do not know what is good for us and what is not. Young high school kids have trouble picking a profession, university or a carrier. Young graduates have trouble picking jobs, or company to work for, others have to choose their life partners, financial options, cars, life style, cell phones, televisions, computers, and even a simple cup of coffee is from a list of options and variations. There were times where I can walk into a Café and ask for a cup of coffee. I would get a cup of coffee, a jar of sugar and a pot of milk. Today in the name of quality service, brand and marketing gimmicks for an extra $4 whether you like it or not, you are forced to pick from Columbian, American, Costa Rican, host of other gourmet beans, ground, coarse, fine, Grande, Venti, Tall, milk, 2% milk, cream, black, white sugar, brown sugar, honey, sweetener, and still end up with just a coffee to kick-start your morning. But often these wonderful choices for many are bigger problems than convenience or luxury.

One key factor that disturbs me most is the choice and decision of young kids today. They are very quick to choose, decide and almost demand the best and often most expensive when it comes to their clothes, video game units, laptops, mobile phones, and girl or boy friends. But in their most vital and formative age of life they deliberately choose the most vain, aimless, lazy, and easy way out of them, including education, profession and future. They either, opt out of school, defer university entrance, choose other vain interests over scoring good grades at school, learn, aim for an easy degree to graduate in, or a comparatively lower ambition in life when they have a choice to do better. This way they dwell in a world where mediocrity is considered the norm. They do not choose to get the best of grades, make it to the best of universities, get the best of professional qualifications, excel and specialize in their professional qualifications, get the best of jobs and live the best of lives.

I do not mean that everyone has to be successful or be the top achiever in life although each truly carries the ability and can if they wanted. Being ordinary, mediocre is fine as well, but only if you can be happy and do not eventually become bitter of your own choices in the future. Often such individuals who make deliberate poor choices in life often seek the easy way out continue to take poor decisions that end them up assimilating a string of bad experiences, and resulting consequences due to their poor state of living. They will rather choose to get a fat loan or more than affordable car whether they have the means to fill the gas to run it or not. Some choose to spend their parents earnings on their cell phone bills and but never on a clean pair of jeans or clothes. They will choose to take advice and rest on the opinion of some half baked, semi-educated, councilor or a “friend” who will encourage dropping off from school and taking a hike across the country or to another country, smoke weed and have fun or get into a get rich quick dot.com business or buying their share of the pyramid scheme they themselves got suckered into. But they will hardly choose the advice of their selfless, hard-working, sacrificing and extremely caring parents and well-wishers who will often be willing to support their ambition with the best quality of education, universities, and help along the way by paying off their tuition fees as opposed to bank loans, get them a vehicle, give them a house to stay, etc.  I once was told that a person will invariably choose the best and eventually become very successful in life, if he or she is given only the best option as the only and last option to choose from. I guess is has become even more essential to educate todays’ youths on the realities of life and the consequences of human choices. Especially to help them from chasing unrealistic dreams such as the numerous pyramid or other get rich quick schemes with very little efforts. They need to be educated of the resulting proven consequences of better choices and to indulge in creative thinking and strategic planning and development of ideas for the real world that will help them succeed.

Educated and quality choices about self, others, life, and character will only result in success, happier life and great achievement!


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